The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State is investigating reports of an airstrike in a western neighborhood in the Iraqi city of Mosul that allegedly left more than 100 civilians dead last week, according to a statement given to the AP. The suspected high toll underscores the difficulties that Iraqi troops face in the weeks-long fight to route the Sunni militant group from the densely urban part of the city, Iraq's second-largest. Residents of the neighborhood known as Mosul Jidideh say scores of residents are believed to have been killed by a pair of airstrikes that hit a cluster of homes in the area earlier this month. "Over 137 people were inside. The entire neighborhood was fleeing because of missiles that hit, so people were taking refuge here," one resident says.
One airstrike hit the residential area on March 13, followed by a second strike four days later, the residents said. The coalition statement said "multiple allegations" were being investigated. AP reporters saw at least 50 bodies being recovered from the wreckage of the buildings. The Pentagon, which has yet to release casualty figures from last month's fighting, has acknowledged 220 civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the US campaign against IS began in 2014. Independent monitor groups, such as the London-based Airwars, put the casualty figures much higher, at just over 2,700 killed by coalition strikes since 2014.